Excel text tips
These snippets from David H Ringstrom bring together some useful techniques for handling text in Excel.
Excel text box
The text box is one of the great unsung features in Excel. In Excel 2003 and earlier you’ll find it on the Drawing toolbar, but since the launch of Excel 2007 it was moved to a more prominent position on the Insert tab.
Text boxes are a great way to place a paragraph or more of text into a spreadsheet without having to to merge cells manually and wrap text within your worksheet.
Excel 2007 and 2010 users can create bulleted lists within a text box by selecting the text in a box and clicking the bulleted list option on the right-click menu. To create a text box, simply click the icon, draw a box on your worksheet with your mouse, and then add your text.
Text centring trick
When Excel users want to centre a heading or other data across a worksheet, many will instinctively gravitate to the Merge Cells command, which can sometimes wreak havoc.
Instead, select the cells across which you want to centre the text, and then press Ctrl-1 to display the Format Cells dialog box.
On the Alignment tab, choose Center Across Selection from the Horizontal drop-down list.
Pasting text into Excel 2010
Should you wish to copy a list of data in text format from a webpage, report screen, or other source to the Windows Clipboard, Excel 2010 offers a hidden shortcut that makes it easier to organise the data into columns.
Once you have captured the text on the Clipboard, click the lower half of the Paste button on the Home tab, and then choose Use Text Import Wizard.
The options that follow will let you organise data into columns using tabs, semicolons, commas, spaces, or a character of your choice as the separator. Or you can choose Fixed Width and manually place column breaks where you need them. This saves pasting data into a column and then manually launching the Text to Columns wizard on the Data tab of the ribbon.
About the author
"Either you work Excel, or it works you!" says David Ringstrom CPA, the head of Atlanta-based software and database consultancy Accounting Advisors. He presents Excel training webcasts for CPE Link and contributes articles on Excel to AccountingWEB and Microsoft Professional Accountant's Network newsletter. He can be reached by email at david[AT]acctadv.com.